Charles F. Lummis, founder and editor of Land of Sunshine/Out West, has inspired a few books, including a Spur award-winning biography in 2002.
He wrote works himself, such as his best-known A Tramp Across the Continent, about his 3,500-mile walk from Ohio to Los Angeles. “My pen is very little good without my legs,” he admitted. “I must run and see or I’ve got nothing to write about.” What is wonderful about this particular work (first published in 1955) is the depth to which Edwin R. Bingham examines Lummis’ magazine. He shares its virtues as a business, its promotions of the Southwest and how it served as a training ground for regional writers, such as Mary Austin, Sharlot Hall and Ambrose Bierce. Lummis’ sole crusade was to celebrate and interpret southern California in particular and the West in general. This work reveals why the years spent under his guidance made the magazine a prized contribution to our literary history. —Meghan Saar